In flow instrumentation and measurement, there are three main types of meters: inline, insertion and clamp-on. Clamp-on flow meters use ultrasonic (either transit time or Doppler) technology to measure the velocity of a fluid flowing through a pipe. Building design and construction and HVAC professionals—including engineers, installers, technicians and facilities managers—prefer clamp-on meters in many settings because they provide consistently accurate measurements for precise water management and have a low cost of ownership in common applications. Here are four more reasons why clamp-on meters are a leading choice:
- Streamline Installation: Since clamp-on meters simply clamp on to a pipe’s exterior, there’s no need to interrupt service, cut into a pipe or shut down operations to install them. These meters completely eliminate downtime and pressure drops, never come in contact with fluid and can be installed and set up within an hour, which makes them an ideal selection for both new and retrofit systems.
- Accurate Measurements: Covering a wide range of flow rates, Dynasonics® Ultrasonic clamp-on meters, for example, offer impressive measurement with accuracy up to +0.5%. Many HVAC professionals choose clamp-on meters as a long-term solution because they offer better accuracies than some traditional meters do, even when measuring liquids with small amounts of particulates, or with changes in temperature, viscosity, density or pressure.
- Reduce Maintenance: Clamp-on ultrasonic water meters have a simple design of clamp-on transducers and an electronic converter. Because these meters have no moving parts and never touch the internal fluid, they greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the need for maintenance. They also don’t experience wear and tear over time or require frequent calibration, which greatly reduces cost of ownership compared to some in-line meters.
- Portable Design: Clamp-on meters feature a portable design, which makes them an asset in verifying flow or troubleshooting another meter without disrupting liquid flow or cutting into a pipe. They are easy to install and configure and fit a variety of pipe sizes, so you can measure the accuracy of most any aging or malfunctioning meter with a single portable clamp-on meter. Facility managers also use them to help identify when another meter may be due for preventive maintenance. Oftentimes, portable ultrasonic clamp-on meters are the key to identifying issues and reducing water loss.
Choosing the Right Flow Meter for Your Application
The building design and construction and HVAC industries have many applications that require flow meters, from measuring flow in cooling tower blowdown and make-up water applications to monitoring water usage for tenant cost allocation/sub-metering. If you’re in the market for a flow meter, work with a flow instrumentation expert who can address your application’s unique requirements.
Ultrasonic clamp-on meters are a leading option for many applications, but there may be another flow instrumentation technology that’s better suited to maintain a safe, efficient and profitable application. Review the different types available and then contact a flow instrumentation pro if you’d like to discuss your custom solution.